They take on the biggest movies, comic books and even Harry Potter. The LEGO series of games is beloved among kids, teens and adults alike. Yet they don’t break new ground in terms of gameplay.
Or do they?
You’ll definitely want to check out LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.
|LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES
(WBIE for PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, 3DS, DS, Vita, PC)
Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older
Replay Value: 9.5
Overall Score: 9.0
Pros: Big open world game; lots of action; beautiful Gotham City artwork.
Cons: Controls can be sticky; no online play; could be funnier.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The first LEGO Batman was a gem. Your task was to save Gotham City from the baddies who escaped Arkham Asylum. Plus, you could play as the hero or the villain. And the environments were beautiful. Yet as good as it was, the play was like many of the other LEGO games.
In LEGO Batman 2, Batman and Robin form a powerful union with the Justice League of America. They really have to get all the muscle together: The Joker and Lex Luthor have joined forces to cause all kinds of trouble. And Lex has the mother of all weapons, one that’s powered by deadly kryptonite.
That story in itself has the potential to be a plot with a lot of action, a real roller-coaster ride. But there are two important gameplay elements in LEGO Batman 2, something big and new. The first is called an open world.
Having an open world means you can go anywhere you want to go in a game. The only other open world game made for kids that I can think of is the very cool Toy Story 3 game.
So it’s really great that LEGO Batman 2 is as ginormous as it is. And it doesn’t just give you more game to play, which makes it worth the price of admission. Even more important, this open world lets you feel you’re inside of the game. It lets your imagination fly to new heights.
Actually, the game starts out the way you’d expect for a LEGO game to start: with action-packed levels that have a beginning and end. The action sequences are generally awesome. You’ll do everything from fighting baddies on the very high top of a movie theater to racing after The Joker and shooting at his speedboat from the air.
But once you defeat the cackling Joker at the entrance to a strange amusement park, the world begins to open up. At the same time, you’ll get a map that gives you missions, tasks that help you move forward in the game.
You’ll get into the Batmobile and zip over to the Batcave and Arkham Asylum. And what a thrill it is to rev up the legendary supercar and speed along the backroads. Later, as Superman, you can fly from area to area. You can see the grandness that is Gotham and its menacing nature, too.
GRAPHICS, CHALLENGES AND VOICES
That’s because the graphics and artwork are nearly perfectly imagined. LEGO Batman 2 is dark, a little weird and sometimes slightly creepy. It feels like Batman: Arkham City with LEGO characters and more slapstick comedy to make you laugh.
And this is the longest LEGO game I’ve ever seen. You can spend a good part of your summer playing, if you want to finish everything.
The puzzles can be difficult. Check all around your nearby environment for clues. Then make sure you have the right superhero suit to get to the next puzzle. For instance, Robin has a magnetic suit that lets him walk up walls that have a blue neon color. There are dozens of such suits to find and use.
And the other big news? The blocky little characters actually speak for the first time. You’ll hear fewer giggles, coos, screams and those “hmmms” you get when someone wants to think. These aren’t completely replaced, but you’ll now hear actual dialog.
The lack of talking in the LEGO games was cool for a while. It actually made the game developers work harder to get the story across. But it got old. After all, it’s been seven years since Star Wars, the first LEGO offering in the series.
Now, the challenge is for the dialog to enhance the gameplay. It doesn’t always work, but often, the script is funny.
LEGO’S BRAVE NEW WORLD
There are just a couple of problems in the game. I sometimes had to fuss with the controls to change my control of Batman to Robin and back again. And once, when I got on a small vehicle, it got stuck near a fence and moved as slow as a tortoise.
But overall, this is a brave new world for the LEGO series. To go anywhere you want to — when you want to — is a big deal. It makes me really anticipate another open world game that’s in the pipeline, LEGO City Undercover. For now, though, this Batman game is one of the year’s best kid-friendly games, hands down.